DIOCESE OF EVANSVILLE IN
Most recently, my heart ached with helplessness as I watched an evening
national news report.
The now-seven-year-old must live the rest of his natural life without hands and only partial arms, not to mention disfigurement of his face. Though assisted by incredible international efforts, neither his innocence nor his countenance can ever be restored.
For a very long time, my heart has ached and continues to ache with helplessness for those who, while they were young, lost their wholeness to priests who took advantage of their innocence, leaving them maimed for life.
As with the young Iraqi, no apology by any government responsible for deploying the landmine will replace the hands and arms and countenance of that youngster. His life has been changed.
In the same way, no apology from me the bishop can repair or replace the “innocence lost” because a priest of this diocese failed by sexually abusing any young person entrusted to his pastoral care.
Personally, I acknowledge that I cannot fathom living without “arms and hands.” In no way do I presume to comprehend the loss of innocence by anyone violated by a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Evansville. Such is beyond me.
With an incredible feeling of inadequacy, nonetheless, I repeat “I am sorry!” I apologize to all those who have ever been violated by priests of the Catholic Diocese of Evansville or indeed by any other priest. I pledge an ongoing outreach to victims by providing counseling knowing that “innocence lost” can never be restored.
In similar fashion, I cannot imagine attempting to continue the life of a faithful priest if I were falsely accused. For an innocent priest, the loss of an authentic reputation is as maiming as the loss of hands and arms and countenance. No matter the apology, no matter the exoneration, that priest is maimed for his priestly life. Cardinal Joseph Bernardin is the classic example.
Reluctantly and with great pain I now make the following report in abstract form. It is in the form of numbers as reported to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice whose report will appear in aggregate form on or about February 27, 2004. The following numbers represent our portion of that national report.
Within the last two years, many of the following numbers have already been published in one form or another. Some fiscal items were reported in the January 24, 2003 issue of the Message as part of the Annual Fiscal Report to the Diocese for Fiscal Year ending August 31, 2002. Those items are incorporated in the following summary. Also included in the summary are those costs incurred from September 1, 2002 to date. These current costs are related to the implementation of the Charter and Essential Norms, i.e. Diocesan Review Board, Diocesan Review Administrator and National Audit.
PRIESTS SERVING THE DIOCESE 1944-2003: 324
* Diocesan: 221
PRIESTS CURRENTLY MINISTERING IN THE DIOCESE: 91
* Diocesan with Assignments: 57
PERSONS REPORTING ALLEGATIONS: 22
* Persons making allegations, admitted by priests: 4
PRIESTS ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS: 7
* Diocesan, Living: 6
PRIESTS REMOVED FOR SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS: 4
* Diocesan, Living: 3
PRIESTS ACCUSED BUT NOT FOUND GUILTY: 11
EXPENDITURES ATTRIBUTED TO SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS BY PRIESTS OF
It must be noted that the following figures may be inadequate for the following reasons:
* Lack of complete fiscal records from the inception of the diocese in 1944
* Inadequate accounting by reason of inclusion of costs attributed directly
* Seven-year limit on maintaining detail of records of expenditures for costs attributed to priests for assessment and treatment
In the January 24, 2003 issue of the Message costs related to allegations
of sexual abuse of minors
"In the years that I have been bishop of this diocese, I attest
that any costs related to allegations of
Following are those numbers with appropriate additions.
EXPENDITURES FOR OUTREACH TO VICTIMS/PRIESTS:
* Counseling: $17,992
ASSISTANCE TO ACCUSED CLERGY:
* Housing: $23,305
LEGAL FEES RELATING ONLY TO SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS BY PRIESTS:
* Diocesan: $120,504
SEPARATION/BENEFITS COSTS TO REMOVED CLERGY:
* Diocesan: $66,809
DIOCESAN EXPENDITURES IN IMPLEMENTATION OF CHARTER AND ESSENTIAL NORMS:
* Safe Environment Program: $14,519
Why report all this now? The fact is that it is not just now. There have
been regular reports, however
Hopefully, by having a chance to see the impact on the Catholic Diocese
of Evansville, you will better
Just as one landmine can leave life-long maiming effects and scars, so
the failure of a few priests
May the Prince of Peace, the Lord of Healing, touch all of us in both our loss and sorrow!
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.